• In season now: May

    New this month: Asparagus! The food of gods... and carrots are back.

    Still in season from last month: cauliflower, chard, green cabbage, salad leaves, main-crop potatoes (from store), salad leaves, sea kale, spring greens, rhubarb

    Goodbye till next year to: Purple sprouting broccoli (sniff, sniff), leeks, stored parsnips, forced rhubarb

  • What I’m doing here

    This all started when I picked the first strawberries from my new allotment.

    I'd never been so enraptured or so excited by food. It was a shock to find that anything could taste so good.

    So what - I'd never had strawberries before?

    No - all the strawberries I'd had were shop-bought, like as not flown in from intensive growers in Spain or Chile, and eaten in winter when strawberries should be a distant summer memory.

    It revolutionised my thinking about the fresh food we eat every day. I started to wonder if you got the same amazing taste from all types of food grown and eaten in season. And then I decided to do something about it.

    The Year of Eating Seasonally is my little experiment to find out what it's really like not to have it all. The only fruit and veg I and my family are going to eat in 2008 will be what's growing in the ground at the time (or, in winter, what I can get out of store).

    I want to find out if the hungry gap is really as hungry as everyone says it is: whether you're really eating nothing but cabbage all winter; and whether you miss strawberries in December.

    Along the way I hope I'll save a few tons of carbon being released into the atmosphere on my behalf, as I won't be requiring those French beans flown from Chile, thanks very much. And I hope I'll be rediscovering what food can really taste like.

    If you have any comments, please feel free to post them anywhere you like - or you can email me at sallywhite@hotmail.com.

Eggs-ellent

Domestic goddess rating: 50% (mad rushing-about day again) Five-a-day: 3/5 Food miles: none

On the menu: Toast,  marmalade & juice (breakfast); cheese sandwich (lunch); spaghetti bolognese (hurried late post-swimming supper)

buffy.jpg

I thought you might like to meet Buffy. It’s not a great photo, I know, but at least you can just about make out her unbelievably fluffy bottom. She’s a Buff Sussex, and along with her friends Blossom, Daffodil, Tulip, Ruffles and Brownie, she supplies us with eggs pretty nearly all year round.

My chickens live at the bottom of our garden, and I wouldn’t be without them. Not only do they give us the best eggs you’ve ever tasted (an advert for low food miles if ever there was one), they also make lovely crooning noises all day long, join in when you’re gardening, and provide lots of nitrogen-charged manure which is the secret ingredient in my compost. What’s more, they pretty much pay for themselves – even we couldn’t eat 5 eggs a day, so we sell the surplus and use the money for chicken feed.

Eggs are another thing that’s in season all year round – hens are meant to go off lay in winter, but I must admit my lot never seem to. The egg count drops a bit in November, but I can’t remember the last time we had to buy any. This kind of low-level self-sufficiency is within anyone’s reach: it’s fun, too.

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